Pitching struggles continue for Rangers
NEW YORK -- Manager Ron Washington's frustration was obvious. When asked what his team needs to get going after falling to the Yankees 12-4 (again) on Wednesday, Washington turned his attention to the mound.
"We need a well-pitched job," Washington said. "Whether it's a starter or someone in the bullpen. We need somebody to pitch a good game to let the offense breathe a little bit."
That hasn't happened in New York and it hasn't happened often enough during this nine-game stretch in which the team has won only twice. In that span, the club's ERA is 7.51. It's been an equal-opportunity problem with the rotation and the bullpen struggling to find consistency.
On Wednesday, it was Derek Holland, who seems to be the definition of inconsistency. Two starts removed from a complete-game shutout against the Indians, Holland couldn't find his command from the start of the game.
"I just didn't locate very well and fell behind nearly every hitter," Holland said. "It was erratic. I fell behind too many hitters and threw too many pitches."
Holland walked five batters and didn't have a strikeout. In his last start, Holland had 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings with one walk. Keeping the walks down has been a major focus for Holland this season.
"I'm very upset with the walks," Holland said. "My team just kept putting up runs for me and I just kept screwing up the opportunity to keep them down."
Holland got a 2-0 lead before he went to the mound but immediately gave it back on a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira. The Rangers got the lead again in the third only to have the Yankees blow it open with six runs in the middle innings. Holland was gone after five innings and 103 pitches. Only 52 of them were strikes, and he gave up six runs on seven hits.
But the problems on the mound didn't end when Holland departed. Mark Lowe and Neftali Feliz gave up three runs each thanks to homers. Lowe gave up two long balls, including one to Teixeira from the left side of the plate.
"That was a good pitch," Lowe said. "It was a fastball off the plate. But that's why he makes the money he makes. He's a great hitter. But the 3-2 pitch to [Ramiro] Pena was not a good pitch."
That one was hit out by the No. 9 hitter to start the sixth inning and snapped a 166 at-bat homerless streak for the infielder. Feliz came in for the eighth inning to get some work in because he hadn't faced hitters since last Wednesday. He looked rusty, giving up a three-run homer to Robinson Cano after a walk and a single.
"We have to pitch better," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "We've found a way to score a few runs -- two, three, four runs -- but the pitching has been not good lately. Pitching behind in the count is one of the issues we've been having lately. It's something that when we were playing well, we pounded the strike zone and got quick outs. Right now, pitching behind the count hurts."
It will be C.J. Wilson's job to pitch from ahead and try to salvage something from this series in the Bronx. Wilson has the club's only win on this 1-5 road trip and has been a slump buster the past two seasons. The Rangers need him again Thursday afternoon.
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